Written by Dr. David Kirkner Tuesday, 28 April 2015 00:00

Journey with Jesus

A Chronology of the Life and Ministry of Jesus is a linear history of Jesus's life and ministry and a tool for realizing Jesus is the Representation of the Godhead, the Good Shepherd, the Head of the Church, the Radiance of God's glory, our Hope, and the One to whom we are to be conformed. It may serve you as a devotional, a source for deep study, a "wake up" from a season of dry quiet times, or perhaps it will be a vehicle for deepening your knowledge and intimacy with the Messiah. No matter the reason for its use "A Chronology ..." has been authored for the sole purpose of "wowing" you with a unique and transformational awareness of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul writes: "God chose us before the foundation of the world to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30). Why then, should we not get to know Him, to see and understand how He lived in His historical context 2100 years ago so that we can imitate Him and learn how to live in our context in the 21st century.

A Focus on Connectivity and Readability

The Gospel accounts have been integrated so that there are no parallel columns, no duplicate paragraphs on top of one another, but simple narrative from the New English Translation Bible that spells out the entirety of Jesus' earthly ministry.

In addition, each Gospel has a respective color so that when you see RED you'll know you're reading a portion from Matthew, MARK is blue, LUKE is orange, and JOHN is purple. Parallel passages have been indicated in their respective colors.

The following is an example which comes at the beginning of Jesus' Year of Inauguration.

 

Written by Charles Zimmerman Thursday, 23 April 2015 09:01

Bible Translation

What can we learn about community and mission from a Bible translator?

Bryan Harmelink is the Global Consultant for Bible Translation and Collaboration for Wycliffe Global Alliance. Whenever he is in town and available, I have him speak in my Community and Mission class on Bible translation. What does Bible translation have to do with encouraging students to develop a more missional lifestyle in the context of Christian community? Understanding translation can help us understand something about the end and the means of continuing Jesus’ mission.

Bryan defines translation as follows:

Translation is retelling, as exactly as possible, the meaning of the original message in a way that is natural in the language into which the translation is being made.

You see that there are two key aspects to translation – faithfulness and naturalness. We need to retell “as exactly as possible” yet “in a way that is natural” to the listener or reader.

   

Written by Philip Monroe Tuesday, 21 April 2015 11:15

We live in a world shaped by violence and trauma. A few weeks ago 147 Christian Kenyan university students were killed because of their faith. Such horrific forms of violence shock us. But they shouldn’t given that in our own country violence and trauma are everyday occurrences.

Trauma Theology

While some of our local brothers and sisters face actual death, all of our communities are shaped by soul-crushing abuse and family violence. Take the most conservative numbers we have—1:6 males and 1:4 females have experienced sexual assault before age 18—and realize that a large portion of your friends and acquaintances have traumatic experiences.

In a congregation of 100, 20 of your fellow church members are walking around with invisible wounds of sexual violence on their bodies and souls. And that number says nothing about those walking around with other invisible wounds, such as caused by domestic violence, racial prejudice, sexism, bullying and the like. Were we to include these forms of interpersonal violence the number would likely reach 70!

As my friend Boz Tchividjian asks, what would the sermons and conversations look like if 20 of our mythical congregation of 100 had just lost a house in a fire or a child to premature death? Wouldn’t we be working to build a better understanding of God’s activity in the midst of brokenness rather than passing over pain as a mere hiccup of normal life?

Yet, we continue to imagine trauma as some sort of abnormal state.

   

Written by Derek Cooper Thursday, 16 April 2015 09:13

My friend, co-author, and Biblical alumnus (class of ’05) Ed Cyzewski has written a book that I think you might be interested in reading. It’s called A Christian Survival Guide: A Lifeline to Faith and Growth. In the past, Ed and I have written two books together, Hazardous and Unfollowers, in which we attempted to describe and personalize the challenges that accompany Christian living in the twenty-first century.

Christian Survival Guide

In A Christian Survival Guide, Ed has picked up the theme of Christian living once again, providing a glittering array of humorous yet clever observations — what I call “Ed-isms.” (Ed, it should be made known, has never met a pun he doesn’t like, and he spends the quieter hours of his day dreaming about puns the same way bakers dream about croissants and cookies.)

I love the back cover description of the book, which is so characteristic of the writing ministry to which Ed has been called: “A Christian Survival Guide provides a lifeline for followers of Jesus who are tired of pat answers but need a solid foundation for their faith. Written in a conversational style, this book takes on big questions without getting bogged down in big theological terms.”

Do you ever feel like you need a spiritual lifeline thrown your way?

   

Written by Kyuboem Lee Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:03

Lately, I’ve been hearing the term “justice churches” to refer to those congregations that have chosen as one of their core goals the pursuit of social justice. Is this a helpful term?

Justice Church

Perhaps not, since implicit in the label may be the assumption that “justice churches” are departing from the core gospel ministry—that they are becoming “more justice than Jesus,” to use another turn of phrase.

Another assumption could be that pursuing justice, while laudable, should not properly be the main focus of a church’s work of gospel proclamation.

When ministry to the poor or solidarity with the oppressed are brought up, the first concern is that the preaching ministry or discipleship or teaching biblically faithful doctrine could be compromised.

Gospel Relating to Justice

How does the gospel relate to justice in such circles? (Let’s call them “gospel churches” but that might be a problematic label too, as outlined below.)

The most sophisticated answer I’ve heard is that social justice is an implication of the gospel, but not the gospel itself. The pursuit of justice flows from the gospel message, but the gospel proper is nothing more than the message of Jesus crucified, buried, and risen, that demands our faith. In other words, gospel ministry is word ministry, to be distinguished from deeds ministry.

   

Written by David Dunbar Thursday, 09 April 2015 13:05

For the most part Christians tend to think of prayer as our speech to God. The words we use may be audible or inaudible, but the direction is from us to God. We speak and he listens. The idea is that prayer is a response to the prior speaking of God to us objectively in creation, or in Christ and the Scriptures.

Prayer

The problem with this understanding is that it tends to lose the dynamic quality of an ongoing conversation between God and ourselves.

The thought is that God has already said what is necessary and important. Dallas Willard has termed this understanding of God’s relationship to believers as “Bible deism”:

Classical deism, associated with the extreme rationalism of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, held that God created his world complete and perfect and then went away, leaving humanity to its own devices. There was no individualized intervention in the lives of human beings, no miracles. Bible deism similarly holds that God gave us the Bible and then went away, leaving us to make what we could of it, with no individualized communication either through the Bible or otherwise (Hearing God, p. 107).

The Risks of Bible Deism

The risk in this approach is that we may lose a significant dimension of a mature spirituality. Think of the experience of being around small children who talk incessantly but do very little listening . . . how soon we yearn for conversation with an adult! Of course, some adults can put us through a similar ordeal, but we generally regard them as rude or narcissistic.

   

Written by R. Todd Mangum Tuesday, 07 April 2015 11:38

Probably because I’m serving as advisor for a DMin dissertation on a church plant that arose from the death (and closure) of the previous church, I may have a heightened sensitivity to signs of death and signs of life in ministerial organizations these days. My own home church has been through a lot; we’ve been seeking to make the missional turn for at least a dozen years now. We’ve had turmoil, turnover, leadership struggles, fits and starts, transition.

Church numbers

This past Sunday, my family of four arrived and went down to our “usual row,” only it was full; so we had to split up to all get seated. My son, now a seminary student here at BTS and himself quite astute to the “signs and signals of transition,” said with a grin, and fully tongue-in-cheek, “There’s too many people.” I said right out loud: “No, no, no . . . I’ll take this problem!” Later I said to the chairman of the elder board, that’s like saying, “The offering plate’s too full. No worries. We can get bigger plates!”

Numbers Are Not the Only Measurement

Now . . . I know that numbers are not the only measurement, and never the most significant measurement. In fact, part of the vision casting of our transition is about focusing on getting healthy as a church body; not getting bigger. We are not an attractional church, we’re a missional, incarnational church. All good stuff.

   

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